SAN FRANCISCO Apple (AAPL) is hitting shuffle on its top management.
The company today announced that it's rejiggering its executive lineup to add extra responsibilities for some, along with the planned exit of iOS software chief Scott Forstall in 2013.
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A more immediate departure is John Browett, the head of Apple's retail unit, a move that appears to be sudden given that the company says it's currently seeking a replacement.
Meanwhile, Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi will stay on with expanded roles.
Forstall's departure is now being reported as an ouster, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that he was asked to exit the company after he refused to sign an apology for problems with Apple's mapping service. Apple says Forstall will effectively be replaced by Craig Federighi, who will oversee both the iOS and OS X groups under one umbrella. Jony Ive will take on "leadership and direction for Human Interface across the company" while continuing as the company's top designer. Meanwhile, Eddy Cue now oversees Siri and Maps as part of a new "online services" group that includes iTunes, iCloud and Apple's various digital stores.
Curiously enough, Apple is also bringing Bob Mansfield back into a leadership role. Apple's former hardware chief will now lead a "Technologies" group within the company, which is made up of wireless and semiconductor groups. Mansfield was replaced by Dan Riccio earlier this year, though stayed on to "work on future products" for Apple CEO Tim Cook.
"We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple's history," Cook said in a statement about the changes. "The amazing products that we've introduced in September and October, iPhone 5, iOS 6, iPad mini, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod touch, iPod nano and many of our applications, could only have been created at Apple and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services."
It's impossible to get a read on what the market thinks about the move. U.S. trading was closed today because of Hurricane Sandy, and will be closed again on Tuesday.
Updated at 8:07 PT with more details on iOS software chief Scott Forstall's departure.